April 30, 2009
Case Study

Wells Fargo’s Customer-Centric Message Boosts Leads: 5 Steps to Create Consistent Theme for Multichannel Campaign

SUMMARY: One touch is rarely enough to convert prospects in a lead-generation campaign. But creating an effective multi-touch, multi-channel campaign also requires you to maintain a consistent message across all communications.

See how the team at Wells Fargo promoted automated business services to existing customers by zeroing in on a major pain point. By developing that theme through an integrated DM and email campaign, they achieved conversion rates that ranged from 7.95% to 11.71% -- and took home a 2009 MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Award.

Paul Hesselroth, Marketing Programs Manager, Wells Fargo, is responsible for marketing the bank’s treasury management services, such as ACH wire transfers and merchant accounts, to business customers.

Last year, his team needed to promote the bank’s remote deposit service -- an online program that lets businesses scan and deposit checks from their offices, rather than taking them to a bank. Because their goal was to convince current customers to change their behavior, they didn’t want a campaign that simply recounted product benefits to CFOs and Treasurers.

“Saying we have the #1-rated remote deposit service -- that’s a brag sheet,” says Hesselroth. “Our question was, ‘How do we take [a campaign] from a product-centric approach to make it relevant to their world?”


Hesselroth’s team and their agency developed a multi-touch, multi-channel campaign that positioned the remote deposit service in the context of their customers’ major pain point. CFOs and Treasurers were being asked to take a leading position in their companies’ strategic direction, but day-to-day tasks were making it tough for them to play that role.

As a result, the team created messaging that highlighted the ability to free CFOs and Treasurers from time-consuming, tedious tasks. They also increased the urgency of each message to encourage customers to view an online demo of the remote deposit product.

Here are five steps they took in the campaign:

Step #1. Create key campaign message around customer benefits

Before developing campaign materials, the team examined their customers’ mindset. Using Wells Fargo customer research, and research into trends in major industry publications their audience was reading, they identified two significant concerns:

- CFOs and Treasurers were overburdened with day-to-day financial management tasks that kept them from providing the strategic guidance their companies needed.

- Their inability to deliver on strategic direction for their company had them concerned about their job security.

Based on that mindset, the team developed a key message that focused on Wells Fargo’s reputation for advanced automation services and the remote deposit product’s ability to free CFOs and Treasurers from time-consuming, tedious tasks.

- Message copy was created around the overarching campaign theme of providing additional time for strategic thinking, using headlines such as, “Idle hands lead to big ideas.”

- Images in promotional materials focused on people in business attire with their hands at rest, such as:
o A man reclining in his chair with his hands behind his head
o A woman with her hands folded under her chin

- Because this was a campaign to existing customers, the team also used additional images and design elements that reinforced Wells Fargo’s brand, such as logos and the standard yellow and red color scheme.

- The call-to-action for all messages was a link for customers to view an online demonstration of the remote deposit service.

Step #2. Three-phase direct mail campaign

With the campaign theme in place, the team created a multi-channel communication strategy that included direct mail, email messages, and online advertising.

“The more channels and more touches you can hit appropriate audiences with, the more chance you can get them to pay attention,” says Hesselroth.

The direct mail campaign included three mailings to existing customers sent every other week. Each message reiterated the campaign’s overarching theme, but moved from a softer, benefits-oriented message to a strong product-focused message by the final mailing.

DM piece #1: 8 1/4X6 folded self-mailer.

- The first mailing featured a cover image of a man with his hands folded behind his head, with the headline, “Idle hands lead to big ideas. How busy are yours?”

- The piece opened up to display a personalized letter from that customer’s regional bank VP. The letter’s text reiterated the primary benefit message, through sentences such as:
o “Your time is far too valuable to be spent on routine financial tasks. That’s where we can help.”
o “Automating your routine financial tasks gives you the freedom to think about what’s really important – the big picture.”

- The letter included a link to a personalized URL to view the online demo, and an 800 number to contact a customer service representative. Customers were also reminded that they could contact the members of the Wells Fargo team with whom they had existing relationships.

DM piece #2. 8 1/4X6 post card.

- The second mailing was a post card with an image of a woman with her hands folded under her chin. The headline copy read, “Wells Fargo Desktop Deposit® frees you from routine financial tasks, so you have time to think big.”

- Text on the back of the postcard highlighted product benefits in the context of the customer’s pain point, through sentences, such as:
o “Wells Fargo Desktop Deposit® service lets you scan checks in your office -- electronically. That means no more running to the bank, fewer manual errors, and no need to install any software.”

- Call-to-action included the PURL for the online demo and an 800 number.

DM piece #3. 8/14X6 post card.

- The final mailing featured a close-up image of a man’s hands resting on a desk, and a headline that emphasized the offer: “Check out the FREE Wells Fargo Desktop Deposit® Demo.”

- Text on the back of the postcard also highlighted the offer, through sentences, such as:
o “In the few minutes it takes to view the FREE Desktop Deposit® online demo, you’ll learn how you can scan checks in your office and deposit them directly into your bank account.”

- Call-to-action included PURL and 800 number.

Step #3. Three-phase email campaign

The team synchronized an email campaign to coincide with the direct-mail communication strategy. Three messages were sent during the campaign, each delivered one week after a direct-mail drop to coincide with that piece arriving at the customer’s office.

- The three emails used the same images, headlines and body copy of the direct-mail pieces.

- The team changed email subject lines over the course of the campaign to move from a benefit-oriented to an offer-oriented message. Subject lines were:
o Free yourself to think big
o Make deposits from your office
o See the Desktop Deposit® demo

- The email messages were sent from the VP of the customer’s regional bank.

- The team also increased its emphasis on the call-to-action over the course of the three emails by moving the link for the online demo. In the first email, the link to view the demo was in the right-hand column and embedded in the copy text. By the final email, they added a link to the demo in the email header image.

Step #4. Test landing page copy

Because the team was marketing to existing customers, they used personalized URLs that allowed pre-registered customers to access the online demo without entering or confirming contact information on a registration form.

But they also tested landing page copy to determine the best approach for future campaigns:

- One landing page contained copy that emphasized customer benefits, using the headline:
o “Idle hands lead to big ideas. Let Wells Fargo Desktop Deposit® service automate your routine financial tasks.”

- A second landing page contained copy that highlighted product features, using the headline:
o “Automate your routine financial tasks with Desktop Deposit®. And have the time to think big.”

Step #5. Route campaign responses to appropriate sales representative

When a customer viewed the online demo through a PURL, the team routed that customer’s information to the sales representative in charge of the account.

That way, the sales team could follow-up with customers to answer questions or provide more information about the remote deposit product.

The team’s campaign theme and communication strategy definitely connected with the audience. “The response was significantly higher than what we’d seen from past campaigns,” says Hesselroth.

Results for the direct mail campaign included:
o 11.96% CTR to landing page
o 7.98% conversion rate

Results for the email campaign included:
o 39.86% CTR to landing page
o 11.71% conversion rate

Even better, the team did not see the typical drop-off in response rate between the first, second and third waves of messages. Instead, response rates remained steady throughout the campaign, likely due to a combination of factors, including:
o The use of a consistent offer
o The use of personalized URLs
o The gradual shift from benefit-oriented to offer-oriented messaging

Finally, the results of the landing page test confirmed the advantages of benefit-oriented copy:

- The product-focused landing page converted 45% of the leads.

- The benefit-focused landing page converted 55% of the leads.

Useful links related to this article

Creative Samples from Wells Fargo’s Multi-Channel Campaign

SKOW provided strategic direction and creative development for the campaign:

Wells Fargo

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